Fasting the mind
Updated: Jul 5, 2022
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"The Eastern interpretation of freedom is to be free from yourself; to be free from the conditioning that that has been impressed on you. So the socialization process that you've gone through, once you've liberated yourself from ego, that's what ultimate freedom is because then nothing else, it doesn't matter what you can experience in your life, it won't imprison you." — Jason Gregory
We can help you cultivate mindfulness and fast your mind. Click here to learn more about our Mindful Month Decelerator.
Bestselling author/philosopher/documentarian Jason Gregory joins us to discuss the "Fasting the Mind" practice that he writes about in his incredible book, Fasting the Mind: Spiritual Exercises for Psychic Detox.
Combines cognitive psychology with Zen, Taoist, and Vedic practices to empty the mind.
Explains how eliminating external stimulation can alleviate stress and anxiety for a calmer state of mind
Details meditation practices, such as open-awareness meditation, contemplation of Zen koans, and * Vipassana meditation, and explores methods of digital detox
Draws on classical yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism as well as cognitive science to explain how and why to fast the mind
FULL RAW TRANSCRIPT OF THIS EPISODE:
[00:00:00] Curt Mercadante: Well, hello, freedom lovers. Welcome to another episode of the freedom media network. I'm your host, Curt Mercadante in today's guest is no stranger to the freedom media network. I think this will be his third time and I hope to have him back many, many times, because every time I read one of his books, I'm like, oh, this is my favorite book.
[00:00:18] And then I go back and read one of his older books. I'm like, no, no, this is my favorite book today. We're gonna discuss one of my favorite books. mm-hmm , which is fasting the mind. Our guest of course is bestselling author philosopher, documentarian, Eastern philosopher, Jason Gregory. Uh, and he joins us today, discuss the book, fasting the mind and in the book he writes it, it was spiritual exercises for psychic detox.
[00:00:45] It combines cognitive psychology with Zen doist and VADK practices to empty the mind. Jason, thanks so much for joining us today.
[00:00:54] Jason Gregory: Thank you for having me back on Kurt. I always enjoy our conversations. Yeah.
[00:00:58] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. And you, and you're joining us [00:01:00] from Brisbane, Australia, but at the time, next, next year, at this time you might be in India or
[00:01:05] Jason Gregory: Thailand, right?
[00:01:06] Yeah. I think the next time we speak, I'll be definitely overseas. So this is the last time in Australia for sure. Excellent. And it's been, it's been a long time coming actually, so
[00:01:15] Curt Mercadante: yeah. That's wonderful. That's wonderful. Yeah. I, I think a lot of people are, are, are waiting to get out and spread their wings outta their cages that they've been in for a couple years.
[00:01:24] exactly. Um, you know, and speaking of the last few years, and, and, and you know, maybe we're going into some, another bit of craziness. Mm. You know, you see the hysteria and you see the fear porn and the panic and the anxiety. And it's like, this is the worst of times ever. But when you go back to some of the times that you read about the war states period in China, the Dallas LAA CHSA times were.
[00:01:51] Pretty bad there. Right? I mean, it was like 400 years of nonstop wars and fighting, and yet they found a way to have [00:02:00] peace and calm in their lives. Right.
[00:02:02] Jason Gregory: That's true. That's true. And even if we just go back, even if we look back just 80 years with the second world war, you know, if we, if we go back to the first world war, like there were times that were a lot tougher than the times that we live in now, but we have a lot of recency bias, you know?
[00:02:18] So we get caught in the dramas of the times and we think that this is, this is the end game, or this is what's, you know, gonna finish the human race off. And then invariably humans adapt and we move on, you know, it's, it's part of our strength to adapt and move on. And as you said, with the war states period of China, one of you know, the most interesting times, I believe in human history where you had a lot of great philosophies of rise and a lot of people.
[00:02:46] Joceline to, you know, be the king or the greatest philosopher of that time, which ended up being Confucius in during that period of time. But you know, it wasn't always, it wasn't a, a [00:03:00] stereotypical time of world peace at that time, it was more of, you know, it was called war stage period for that, for that fact, you know, that it was a troubling time.
[00:03:09] And sometimes when there's a lot of troubling times, it's like a, a Lotus flower grows out of the mud to use that sort of metaphor where out of that came Dallas philosophy. For example, now obviously Dallas had been known possibly before LAER, but. It definitely arose with, I mean, it was solidified and, and formulated through, through the Delta Ching, you could say at that time, so, and you could, you could, you could also argue with that Confucian philosophy as well, right?
[00:03:36] With the AEX. I mean, it's not that it's a bad philosophy just when you measure it up against Alison it's, it's a little inept
[00:03:44] Curt Mercadante: and he basically took doism and made it into a, a rules and regulation, religion, right. for lack of a better term.
[00:03:51] Jason Gregory: Exactly, exactly. Instead of a NA instead of a natural methodology, he made it a way of, uh, inducing the Dow into our social life.[00:04:00]
[00:04:00] So, I mean, you could, you could see his argument there, but it kind of defeats the purpose of what actually what LA is trying to get at as to stick to our nature, as opposed to changing our nature, according to some sort of socio economic, political, religious philosophy.
[00:04:17] Curt Mercadante: Can you tell us a story, you know, where, and, and it's not LA to who writes about fasting the mind.
[00:04:22] Uh, and I've seen, I've seen other, uh, um, variations or translations. It's always interesting to read just different translations. You know, Thomas Merton, his translation of John says is very different than, um, oh, I can't remember her name. She's got one that I read back and forth. Yeah. Um, uh, and, but, uh, and he got, I think someone calls it, fasting the heart instead of fasting the mind.
[00:04:44] But can, can you explain that and share that story with us that CHSA
[00:04:47] Jason Gregory: writes about? Yeah. JS of writes about it's the, the translation that I would recommend is probably Burton, Watsons translation, cuz he's he, well, he's passed away now, but he he's probably one of the foremost [00:05:00] cologists you should say. Uh, I would say, and, um, In the story, uh, Confucius kind of plays the, the Sage figure in, in this, in this story, like in the drawings here, it's really interesting.
[00:05:13] Cuz drones has got a really good sense of humor where one minute Confucius is this, you know, an idiot that doesn't know, understand the do. And the next minute here's a sagely figure who understands the do you know, say, and this is where a lot of people think that the drawings was actually written by a few different people, you know?
[00:05:30] Mm. Um, but that's another story, but so in the story, uh, Confucius's disciple young way, young way. There's, there's a, there's a ruler in, in one of the Western states called way. And so young way is under the impression that you know, this guy is, you know, he is, is killing and torturing people. You know, people don't have money and this and that.
[00:05:55] And so he, he says to Confucius, you know, I'm gonna go and reform him. I'm gonna [00:06:00] go and teach him. Dallas principles or the, in this sense, the Confucian principles, you know, piety, you know, humility, everything, all of these virtues that we would say, uh, that we can cultivate as opposed to a Dowson who say that it's, they're actually inherent qualities, but, and say, he's, he says to Confucius, I'm gonna go and do this and that.
[00:06:26] And then Confucius just sh shuts him down and says he continually shuts him down. It's kind of, it's a real, funny story. Cuz he, everything that he throws at him, Confucius continually shuts down. And the last one he throws at him and says, I'm gonna go and do this and that. And he says, you, you won't succeed because you haven't fasted.
[00:06:42] And young way says, what do you mean? I fast all the time. Like I don't drink wine on this particular day. I don't eat any grains on this particular day. And I celebrate every, you know, whatever the astrological days are, according to that time, that, that part of time in China. And [00:07:00] he said, no, no, that's the fasting of the body.
[00:07:01] I'm talking about the fasting of the mind or the fasting of the heart, as you said. And he said, what is the fasting of the mind? And it's basically this lifestyle. You could say that you live or a mentality that you have where you don't have a perspective of this and that, like, you don't have a personal agenda.
[00:07:22] And so, uh, Confucius point in this story, Confucius being in the mouth point, mouthpiece of drawings are, is that when we have too many preconceived ideas or when we have too much information in our head that often stimulates our mind, we can't see reality as it truly is. And so you are gonna be of no service to that ruler.
[00:07:46] If you have an agenda, if you have a personal opinion of what he should do. Because you yourself, haven't, haven't resolved all of these things within yourself and you are, you haven't fasted your mind. So you, you can't do anything about it. [00:08:00] And then basically at the end of the story, drawings are being, uh, Confucius being the mouthpiece of drawings are here, says, you know, once you can faster mind, then you'll understand what oneness is.
[00:08:11] And then you can go and play in his bird cage or be near him. And just your mere presence may, may be enough to change the rulers way. And so particularly in the west, when we hear this sort of story, we go, how is that even possible? Right. You know, but this is, but this is a big thing in the, in the east where it's a focus on ourselves to change.
[00:08:38] Well, we change in changing ourselves. We actually inadvertently change other people and. In the west. That's really not how we think, because we think that, well, maybe we need to go out and change the political stratosphere, or we need to get rid of a certain president to fix the ills of the society. And then we often when [00:09:00] we change presidents, so we do this in that we often see that it often is worse or it doesn't change at all.
[00:09:06] So, right. And it happens all throughout history, not just in places like America, if you go to any other country, it's always the same. And this is what LA's point or Jon's point is in the story that when we're coming from that place of having too many agendas and too many opinions, nothing usually changes at all.
[00:09:25] Cause we haven't changed ourselves. Ultimately. .
[00:09:29] Curt Mercadante: Yeah, it's, it's interesting. You know, we've, we've had a number of tragedies here in the us, but there's a tragedy somewhere in the world every minute of the day. Right. And, and it's, it's just a matter of what the people in the news want us to see, but in every single of these tragedies that have happened here, and I won't even say what they are, you know, I bordering on a hundred percent, goes back to something that occurred in their family life.
[00:09:55] They were ignored. People knew about things that were gonna happen. I'm talking about [00:10:00] people doing things at schools and things. And it's interesting that everyone, you mentioned changing ourselves to change other people. Everyone here, whenever there's a tragedy or something in politics, or whatever wants to say, someone should do something.
[00:10:14] Someone else should do something. The politicians, they ought to pass a law and they'd ought to do this, this and kids today. And many of those same people go home and ignore their kids. They're angry with their kids. They, they build a life of. which is violence. And then they wonder why the world isn't changing.
[00:10:33] When all they do is say, you should change. You should change. You should change. And, and you know, I I'm perfect. I'm perfect. I don't need to change at all. And when everyone says that it's like the old tragedy, the commons, you know, experiment where they, uh, they, no one actually cleans up the park because it's no one's responsibility.
[00:10:51] And they say, well, the government will do it. So the park gets crappy and the government, you know what I mean? No one takes. And when you take a hundred percent responsibility, [00:11:00] Then it's, I just, I feel like people and I used to work. I worked in politics for decades. It's allowing you allow not you, but people allow presidents, politicians, whatever, to live rent free in their head and affect them.
[00:11:15] Whether it's Trump arrangement, Biden arrangement, Bush arrangement, and you almost become a prisoner of that person even though, because not even though, because you hate them so much. Right.
[00:11:26] Jason Gregory: yeah, exactly, exactly. And I've interestingly enough, I, uh, a professor actually in Arizona contacted me a year ago about fasting.
[00:11:36] The mine was saying to me, if only we had this in schools in the us. Wow. And I've, I've had a few in places like India and China, for example, saying, which is, you know, no surprise, but saying that we have your book at our school at our university. And a lot of students resonate with it and. We can't obviously put it into curriculum, but that the idea of fast in the mind [00:12:00] would solve a lot of problems in the world.
[00:12:02] As you said, if we were taking care of our own business, taking care of our, having responsibility for our own mind, then a lot of things would change. And that's a lot of, that's a lot of problems in the world. Cause people will take a lot of responsibility for their, he, for their health, say their physical health, but they don't do anything about their psychological health.
[00:12:22] And so, as you said, they allow the narrative to run rent free in their mind. And it's a narrative itself. That's a problem. It's, you know, and I would, I would argue that fasting the mind is more important and Fasten the body because once you have fasted the mind, then you, wouldn't probably delve into bad health than whatever the society is.
[00:12:45] Kind of gearing you towards, you know, junk food and so forth and so on. So if we took care of our own backyard, You know, to use the old, our old grandma term terminology, then everything else sorts itself [00:13:00] out. But as you said, we're coming from this place that we are already, right? And so once we think we're already, right, our subjective view is what is right.
[00:13:09] And everyone else's subjective view is just nonsense. Then that's where the problems begin. And in ter they have a funny way of explaining that because they say, when you look at our own subjectivity, and we think that our own subjectivity is the bill and end all and everything else is an object. But then when we flip it, that person looks at you as an object and say, but the ultimate subject is Brockman is the Dow.
[00:13:35] And you are only an object in, in regards to that. But you think you're the be all and end all, or you think your world view is the be all and end all. And so J's point in, in the fasting mind passage was that it's the subjective viewpoint. Inherently wrong, because first of all, the subjective viewpoint changes as we get older, you, it, you know, it does, right?
[00:13:59] [00:14:00] Like I've seen people for example, who have been, uh, politically right, who have turned left or left, who have turned right. And it's happened slowly over time. And that's just an example, but, and I've seen Christians become Muslims and, you know, like, and so from this sort of greater perspective, what you think today may not be true tomorrow.
[00:14:24] And so when you keep that sort of distance from this sort of activity in your mind, then you, then you allow life to be, as it will, and, and sort of not fuel those, those thoughts that are trying to stimulate your mind. And most of the time, a lot of people don't think about this. It's something like 90% of thoughts that we have are, are completely unnecessary.
[00:14:48] Like they, they offer us no, Utility, they offer us, they, they, they're basically meaningless. And we understand this through daydreaming, through, through fantasizing and just through [00:15:00] overthinking situations. Like, for example, if you think you offended someone, sometimes we, we ruminate on that for 24 hours, then we see that same person again, but they're okay.
[00:15:09] And you, so all of that 24 hours, you were concerned about their feelings. You didn't have to be. And so you basically wasted a whole day because your mind is full. And so in Dallas they use this kind of mind cup analogy where, you know, is your cup empty or full, or, or as LASO says, what do you value the couple, the space within the cup.
[00:15:33] Mm. And, and say, if without the space, we can't taste it a lovely beverage. Right. And so our mind inherently, and this is a little bit of cen Buddhism is empty, spontaneous, and free. It's inherently empty, spontaneous, and free. But when we fill things up in it, our mind its habit is to cling and to attach to things.
[00:15:56] And so then Jason becomes Australian, [00:16:00] he becomes Buddhist. Maybe he becomes this and that, which is in opposition, or he thinks he's an opposition to Kurt who may be Hindu, who is American. Right. And so we, we create these artificial boundaries in our mind because our mind is not allowed to be, as it truly is, which is empty, spontaneous and free.
[00:16:23] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. And in our society, it's exacerbated by the culture, which wants you, your cup to overflow my cup overflow with people will post it on and I'm so happy. And then, you know, they've, they've swung the pendulum so far this way. And then the next. They're depressed. And, um, you, you mentioned the word free and, and free.
[00:16:43] I meant to ask you this last time. I totally forgot. I don't know why, but you brought, you brought up the word free and choy uses the word. Well, in some translations, freedom, you talk about freedom in this book, but also in, uh, the science and practice humility. You talk about freedom and, and the way you talk about freedom is different than a lot of people.
[00:16:59] You know, [00:17:00] freedom, like many words has been, uh, uh, charged with energy that may or may not mean certain things, right? Some people here now hate the word freedom, cuz other people use it in a political context and it's something you go get. How do you define
[00:17:15] Jason Gregory: freedom? Well, there are different layers of freedom, as you said, but the, the Eastern interpretation of freedom is to be free from yourself to be free from the conditioning that you've, that has been impressed on you.
[00:17:29] So the socialization process that you've gone through once you've liberated yourself from your ego. That's what ultimate freedom is because then nothing else. It doesn't matter what you can experience in your life. It, it won't, uh, imprison you. And this is why you hear a lot of classic cases of people going to prison and this and that.
[00:17:50] But, but they're, they may have been innocent when they went into prison, but their mind's completely free. So they're peaceful in prison. Now, now someone may [00:18:00] say, well, what if someone shanks them or something like this? Like, that's a different conversation, but, but the point is, but in saying that, uh, there, there are a lot of stories in, in Zen where like a Samura came to the monastery and stabbed her a monk beat.
[00:18:16] He had no reaction to being stabbed because he was already completely free. And then there's another opposite side of that is that when the monk was stabbed, he, ah, he screamed and then another disciple said, look, see, he wasn't free. And he's like, no, he's just expressing what the spontaneous moment needed.
[00:18:34] And it was. He was exaggerating his, his death, so to speak. But getting back to your original question is that it's, it's the freedom from the prison that we build for ourself. So we, we are the ones in, in most cases that imprison ourselves, because we have, as you said before, we have a certain way of thinking that we think is the best.
[00:18:59] [00:19:00] Our subjective viewpoint is number one, it's the perfect view, but that's actually what eclipses us from seeing reality as it truly is. And then you can see anything as it truly doesn't matter how stupid or frivolous the external landscape may be. If you are inwardly free on the inside, it doesn't matter who is present.
[00:19:22] It doesn't matter what someone says to you. because it it's, it's like water off and ducks back. Um, cuz you have a mind of no deliberation, then you can just sort of effortlessly move through life because you've freed yourself from this sense of person and it's and the irony is in, in cognitive science and psychology is that when we think we are too much of a person.
[00:19:47] So if I think I'm too much, Jason and I have all this conditioning, that socialization has impressed on me when I'm re when I need to act naturally in the environment, there's a bit of [00:20:00] hesitation because the Sy, the program that I have is in conflict with the environment that I'm experiencing. Hmm. So I'm, I'm acting with hesitancy because the inner program is not in sync with the out the outer program, but if you've got rid of the inner program, then you can just move through life efficaciously with no problem.
[00:20:23] This is why a, a Yogi never stays in a, in a physical environment for longer than two weeks, really? Because they understand that they accumulate the habits and the tendency of that, of that society, of that culture. And so they want to keep their mind free from any sort of ideas or ideology or, or what have you of that environment.
[00:20:44] So, but in a nutshell to get back to your question, the freedom itself is to be free from the conditioning that we've all experienced. Yeah. Which is that again? Easier said than done. Oh
[00:20:58] Curt Mercadante: yeah. I mean, we, we, we [00:21:00] have a beliefs and behaviors workshop, and it's like, we teach people modalities to clear and if you've never done it, and let's say you're 45 years old, you got 45 years of crap.
[00:21:09] But then even if you clear today, you gotta clear tomorrow. And because just stuff, even if you turn off all the news, it's just osmosis. Right. And there's, there's programming. That's not the news. There's programming just. Around you. Um, and I, you know, when you say freedom from yourself, you know, I think a lot of people attach freedom only to external stuff because they're conditioned to where a teen Jersey, like you said, American Australian, or you, you know, Ukrainian, Russia, us, whatever it is, Republican Democrat here in the us.
[00:21:42] And, and I used to be someone who was that. I mean, I worked in politics and it's interesting that when you start really attaching yourself to that external illusion of identity, you're so easily controlled because instead of, you [00:22:00] know, there's a lot of gray in the world, but the society wants you to think everything's black and white.
[00:22:06] So it, I find it interesting now where I couldn't do it say even 10 years ago, if something is in the news or something comes up to step back and say, And question and say, well, do we know the whole story? And it's funny how people react to that. You're a trader you're just for saying, do we know the whole story?
[00:22:25] You're a conspiracy theorist, you're this, you know, and it's like, I'm just sitting back and it doesn't make you a pacifist. Right. Cause the Doss many dos could kick ass. Right. But they didn't seeking out fights. It was like, don't push 'em too far. And then that's it. They knew when to fight .
[00:22:44] Jason Gregory: Exactly. And what I find ironic with your example, Kurt is that if you, they call you names and they label you so that you fall in line with their way of thinking mm-hmm so, you know, you're a conspiracy theorist or, you know, you're a, [00:23:00] you're a pacifist, uh, Why don't you think as the way we do, just because, you know, you're sitting back like this, you know, you are this and you are that, but like you said, like the original Dallas, they did kick us.
[00:23:12] You know what I mean? They, they, weren't just always sitting around shanty and peaceful. I mean, they acted it immediately appropriately to whatever the situation needed a lot of the time. But most of the time they did live in nature and peaceful and, and away from a lot of the noise, which I, I guess D would still recommend in, in a, in a physical sense.
[00:23:37] But it's just ironic because people to get to, to try and get anyone to think that as they do, they'll shame you as, as much as they can so that you fall in line. And we see this particular on social media. Now we see this politics promotes this now it's, it's gotten a lot worse. As you said within 10 years.
[00:23:59] [00:24:00] Uh, but even 10 years ago, as you said, you probably wouldn't, it's still, then you probably couldn't say anything like that. Right? Like I remember having disagreements with my family, like 12, 13 years ago about certain things. And then I was labeled like conspiracy theorist or, or this and that, because I would just say, look, we don't understand the full picture.
[00:24:22] I mean, you can't just trust what channel nine says, for example, right. You, you just can't just go lock stock in two smoking barrels and just, yeah, this is what the truth is. And it's like, you don't know, you know, and that's why I always explain that Zen story to people about the, the farmer and the son story where he's constantly saying, we'll see, even though his, his son breaks his leg, um, uh, has a terrible limp.
[00:24:51] So he can't go to war. So there's, it's a back and forth thing and the moral of stories we'll. Is what the farmer says and, and the villages are, are so [00:25:00] stoked about it because you just never know what's gonna happen. And you never know the crux of the story, but as you said, because of this black and white thinking, we think that no, this is the way it is.
[00:25:12] And if you think that it's not the way it is, then you're on this side of the fence. And it's like, but life is, shades are great. It life as shades of gray and it's, and it's mainly shades of gray. And that's what people don't appreciate, or, or don't take the time to try and understand because they're so engrossed in their own conditioning and their own view of the world.
[00:25:33] And, and that's the problem, even on the even I don't, as you probably know, Kurt, I think I've told you a few times in the comment section, a lot of my YouTube videos, you get a lot of this political banter between people. And because what I'm speaking about is getting rid of this. Looking at it from an Eastern perspective about the subjectivity and this and that.
[00:25:55] And people will say, oh, what about this problem? Or, you know, the writer talking about this, [00:26:00] we can't just sit around and do nothing. And, and it's like, but you've missed the whole point of the story. And what I try and reiterate to those sorts of people is that if we all took that sort of perspective where we didn't get so engrossed in our own conditioning, would we have conflict to the extent that we have it now?
[00:26:18] And of course we wouldn't because we would all be, as we were talking earlier, taking care of our own backyard and then the world sort of sort sorts itself out because nature and we are a part of nature is a self organizing system. And so we, we are paranoid that we can't trust other people, so we need to organize it for them.
[00:26:41] So our way of thinking, we're gonna organize other people to think the way we think, because we don't trust them enough to think for themselves.
[00:26:49] Curt Mercadante: and, and it's funny, it's, you know, people who say that, that we have to, we have to fight and, and I say, this is I don't, it's not a judgment. It it's just the way it is.
[00:26:56] And I, and I used to be, there is, uh, it's [00:27:00] like they, would, you rather have Gandhi weaponized, everyone, would you rather have Jesus pulled himself off the cross and said, all right, now we're gonna kick ass. Of course not. You know, and, and, but I also think as we were talking, I think, have, have you seen the hunger games, movies at all?
[00:27:17] I don't know. Yeah, I have. I have, yeah, I have seen, and, and that last, the last episode, you know, the last part of it, where they're fighting and they're fighting and they're fighting and finally they overthrow and they kill snow. And then it turns out the savior that they put in there, the entire thing was orchestrated and is just as bad as snow mm-hmm
[00:27:37] And to that point, it's like, be careful what you wish for. because, like you said, you don't know the whole story and just because this person is wearing your team Jersey and you follow them off a cliff, um, it's, it's very, it, like you said, it's, it's hard to sit back and ask questions. It takes brain power and, um, [00:28:00] it's a lot easier just to shut off your brain being unconscious zombie and say, no, no, no, this is my team.
[00:28:06] I'm just gonna follow them. Yeah. And, and not have to think about it. Not that you should be thinking about it overall, which is part of, I guess, what fasting the mind is. One, one thing is, is we've talked about politics. We've talked about news and we've talked about that, but, and you, and you talk about health.
[00:28:21] You know, I have a, I have a new mindful month program we're doing, and it's really just getting quote, unquote busy people. To it starts off with five minutes in the morning. Don't put your cell phone in your room. Don't wake, try to wake up without an alarm. All that, which means you gotta go to bed earlier the night before and wake up pee, go and pee.
[00:28:41] If you gotta go to the bathroom. Right. But don't pray. Don't do affirmations. Don't talk to anyone. Don't get on your screen. And it starts off not with any meditative positioning. Just go sit in the dark. Yeah. Sit comfortably on the couch for five minutes. And it's, it's funny. Some people can't do that.
[00:28:59] Literally [00:29:00] can't sit for five minutes, which is more, I guess, for your, your most recent book, spiritual detox in, in, uh, their spiritual freedom in the, in the, uh, digital age. But one guy, when we started, he had had a job he's in sales and he travels around, I think it's office technology and his biggest stressor that really deteriorated his life.
[00:29:22] I mean, a lot of things, relationships, health, and all this was that he switched jobs. Uh, cuz his old company got bought out. He was a top sales performer at his previous company. They didn't have quotas, they didn't have sales quotas. His new job had sales quotas. I think he's selling like the same product because he became so attached to the sales quotas.
[00:29:45] Everything fell apart. Yeah. Health, everything, his sales was down. He's like, I feel like I can't sell, I don't know what I'm doing. Right. And it spirals outta control. Mm-hmm so we did this, we started with five minutes. Then we added five minutes at night before, and then we expanded and I said, take [00:30:00] away the timer and just sit don't time yourself for meditate.
[00:30:03] Just kind of habit, building the habit and adding some other things and breathing techniques and all that. He messaged me earlier this, so this is he's only been in it now. What's what is it? The 23rd. So he is been in the 23rd, 23 days. He messaged me four days ago and said, this is unbelievable. I hit my sales quota for the month by the 15th.
[00:30:24] and I'm now the top sales performer in my region and my I've lost so much weight. My pants don't fit from 15 days of just a little bit of silence. Mm-hmm , it's, it's kinda like he said, I'm not focused on the sales quota. I don't even care about it anymore. Yeah. And it's not that he's not selling. It's not that he fasted the mind and, and became a hermit and gave up his job.
[00:30:46] It's that by fasting the mind, he wasn't focused on all this. So he's more effective in, I guess he, I guess he's probably, I mean, he still has stressors, but moving toward way, right. Effort was actually [00:31:00] a bit,
[00:31:01] Jason Gregory: yeah, that's a great story. Cuz the thing is like when he was preoccupied with the sale, so he's overthinking it and, and you're not, you're not reaching the quota.
[00:31:09] And so once you begin to empty the mind or just bring silence into your life and when you do that, For a longer term, longer period of time, then you begin to act immediately and appropriately, appropriately to each and every situation. So he's easily navigating the landscape, see without thinking about what he has to do.
[00:31:29] He knows how to sell. He doesn't need to learn how to sell, but it's the thinking about making that quota that was handicapping him in, in, in life, in general? Right? Like all he could think about was the quota. And so then when, when he brought that silence, then he could actually just navigate the environment as it presents.
[00:31:50] It presents themselves and, and, and actually most people, uh, well, good people in sales. Do that as well. Like they don't overthink the situation. They have [00:32:00] an, an ability to adapt to whatever the other person is saying. So then they can just, you know, mold themselves to whatever that person is saying without thinking about, oh, but I'm trying to get this sound, pushing them for this sale.
[00:32:12] You know, you bend a little bit it's, it's almost like it is a little bit of a way it's, you know, you gotta be, you gotta bend to be straight. You know, you have to be a bit flexible in these situations. And another thing about that story a lot, I like is that when you first started doing, when you, you told him to be mindful in the dark and that, and he couldn't do it and the overthinking and, and the overdoing, a lot of the things with the thinking, you know, taxes, our energy system so much.
[00:32:40] Mm-hmm so, you know, I talk about and fasting in mind about the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. He's only activating most of the time. Well, he, he used to the sympathetic nervous system, the, the fight and flight. Uh, part of our nervous system, the, the active part of our nervous system, which then when you go to sit [00:33:00] quietly in the morning, it's like, for example, when you turn a ceiling fan off, when you first turn the ceiling fan off, there's still a bit of juice in there.
[00:33:07] Say he's sitting in the morning and the juice of the, the, the day before it's still overflowing in his mind. And so that's where the agitation comes. That first of all, this is stupid. Like I'm sitting in the quiet in the dark shouldn't I be doing something, which is what most people think. Yeah. But they don't, but they don't understand how much that contributes to how well they perform throughout the day.
[00:33:34] And, and that's where meditation comes in, you know? And, and in that sense, meditation be used to, that can be used for, you know, obviously deeper reasons. But once you start to activate the parasympathetic nervous system or the, the rest and, uh, digest part of the nervous system, which is, which is activated in doing nothing.
[00:33:53] That's what actually nourishes the sympathetic nervous system. It's, you know, you have this kind of yin and yang effect [00:34:00] where, you know, doing nothing actually enhances intellectual life. Hmm. Which it's pretty strange, right? When you say that it's like shouldn't reading a thousand books, enhanced intellectual life, look, that'll help, but it's, you might go mad reading a thousand books.
[00:34:15] You know, you need a little bit of time to rest and assimilate and digest. Probably what you've read and just be quiet with your mind. Allow your mind. I mentioned the, the Zen open awareness meditation practice and fast in the mind where just the ability to let your mind just to do as it wants as it pleases, but cultivating the witness of that to look at all of this jump that comes up from our subconscious, these bubbles that come up and you think, well, you know, why am I thinking that like, that's, that's weird.
[00:34:47] Like. It it's completely unrelated to what I have to do today. And so once you develop this practice more, you begin to then observe your thoughts as kind of this temporary phenomenon, which they [00:35:00] actually are. And, and as I said before, 90% of thoughts are not even useful. So that's, that's the difference, right?
[00:35:08] Like it's, you know, I always say to people that, you know, people say, they think like, I, I need to do meditation. I need to practice meditation. And I always say to them, meditation is actually who you are. The person is what you do. You know, you are doing the person, the thoughts, and that are creating this identity that you think like, I gotta get up and, you know, I can't sit for five seconds.
[00:35:33] So I gotta think about the quota I gotta make, or, you know, I gotta think about family life today. I gotta get the cereal out for the kids or something like this. And you're not giving yourself just that tiny little bit of time. To allow your nervous system to relax and to see actually what's in your mind.
[00:35:51] And so they, they use a, a metaphor in, in, in yoga philosophy of once the ripples of the, the ocean are settled, [00:36:00] you can actually see into the water and see what's actually in there. Mm. So once you bring the agitation of your mind down, then you can actually start to work on the deeper layers because you can actually then start to see what's actually inside you, as opposed to like, when the ripples are going like this, you don't know what's going on.
[00:36:17] And so you, you think to yourself, why did I act like that way with Kurt? Why did I say that to him? You know, that was kind of stupid, you know? And it's like, that's really out of character and yeah, of course it's outta character because you're, you're dwelling on the, in the waves of the ocean and not abiding in the ocean itself.
[00:36:35] Curt Mercadante: uh, yeah. And I think Alan wa talks about that, right? Like you go into a lake and you, and, and it gets all muddy and just like, wait for it. But what we wanna do is try to. Like force it away. It's like, you can't do that. It's like when you get in an elevator and you press the button 18 times or the walk button at a street and it's like, we're so we think we can control everything.
[00:36:56] Yeah. You mentioned open awareness, meditation and [00:37:00] thoughts that bubble up and that, you know, for, for most people is the, is the most challenging part. Cuz they sit for meditation and oh my gosh. There's so many thoughts coming at you. Yeah. What do you recommend someone does, you know, with open awareness, right?
[00:37:15] You, I, I hear a bird and I, I hear it and I don't judge it. It's just a bird and I, but when things start bubbling up on a regular basis, what do you recommend for someone who has that like, oh my gosh, it's the fifth day in a row. And my thoughts really are you coming at me is over something I had yesterday or something I gotta do today.
[00:37:35] Jason Gregory: Yeah. There's two ways to approach this, this question because like I know a lot of teachers that would say. So five days in a row, you had to do your thoughts. Oh, that's great. That's a great meditation. Hmm. They would, they would look at it that way, because in some sense you are still purging. You're still it.
[00:37:53] Cause a lot of people have been busy for a long period of time. So sometimes it might take months, you know, I don't wanna [00:38:00] deflate people, but it might be a longer period of time for some people like say, if you're on wall street, for example, and you are go, go, go, go, go 24 hours a day. I mean, it's gonna be tough to, to find any sort of equanimity.
[00:38:12] Even if you go on a seven day retreat, you know, it's still gonna, it's still, there's still gonna be this residual busyness that's affecting your mind. Um, so that's one way of looking at it. Another way is, well, you need to, in some, especially with open awareness meditation, it's, it's probably, well, first of all, don't give up, but useful to have a sort of anchor.
[00:38:39] In your meditation, possibly your breath. Like this is where the pass center is, is, is important. And also think about what you're doing the night before. So, and you know, I've spoke to you this, about this on your podcast before is think about like, you know, what sort of food are you eating for example, a night before, [00:39:00] what time are you going to bed?
[00:39:01] As you mentioned, you know, sleep hygiene is a very important thing. It's particularly for meditation. And what kind of entertainment are you consuming the night before? And also, are you still working after nine o'clock at night or 10 o'clock at night and some people are right. I know lawyers who work in into the, into the graveyard shift.
[00:39:23] So you, you gotta really be thinking about, and I know I, I harp on about that a lot, but I noticed that when I put people on like a strict, nightly schedule where they don't do things their morning meditation is a lot better and, and it actually affects. They're they're day as they go forward, because they're not as agitated approaching the day.
[00:39:45] And again, most of the world are tired. Their, their sleep hygiene is terrible. And I remember when I first started going to monasteries and Arus, and you're going to bed at like seven, eight at night. And you're like, [00:40:00] what the , what is going on? But then you naturally wake up at like 3 30, 4 in the morning.
[00:40:04] Yeah. And, and you're, you're fully energized. You're ready for a lot of people say, how do the monks get up at three or four in the morning and chant and meditate. And it's like, we'll live, go on a bed at like eight in the morning, uh, eight at night. And , and, and it, and it's repetitious. Like there's no deviating from that.
[00:40:23] They don't have a night where they go, you know what? I'm gonna Facebook all night. They don't have te . They don't have technology. So I would say continue with the practice. Don't deviate from a few. Rules like get good sleep, try not to consume too much entertainment at night and also eat well or, or don't, you know, drink a can of Coke or something like that at night.
[00:40:49] Like that's gonna, you know, knock you around a bit, cuz the sugar's gonna affect affect you in many ways and that's gonna affect your sleep. It's gonna affect the way you meditate [00:41:00] in the morning. So, and also to, to, to double down on that, to practice daily mindfulness as well. And look, I know that in and most day people are, are busy.
[00:41:12] They're doing things and you know, there's pros and cons to that, right? You can be in the immediate moment when you are doing something and that's actually, there's nothing wrong with that, right? Like if you're making a shoe and you're sitting there hammering a shoe and you know, this is good, you're you're in the moment.
[00:41:27] You're not thinking about other things. Cause if you're thinking about other things, you're gonna smash your thumb with a hammer. so. But outside of that, if you're just practicing or bringing into your life more mindfulness, then when you actually sit down and practice meditation, say then open awareness meditation, that'll help it also because you're actually training your mind not to follow the thoughts and see that's the problem with our society.
[00:41:53] We, we we're told to daydreaming is good. Imagination is good and this and that good to an [00:42:00] extent, I would say like imagination has brought a lot of good things to the world, you know, great fiction stories and, and so forth and so on. But it's, to an extent, you know, if you're sitting there daydreaming all the time, like I had a friend who said that he daydreams all afternoon, or like, isn't that exhausting, like daydream
[00:42:18] Curt Mercadante: right, right.
[00:42:18] Yeah. Cause none of
[00:42:20] Jason Gregory: it eventuates a lot of the things you daydream about don't eventuate. So you're kind of ruminating on like on fantasies that actually don't happen.
[00:42:28] Curt Mercadante: Or doom, gloom and doom. Righto. Yeah,
[00:42:31] Jason Gregory: exactly, exactly. Doom and gloom. So if you're training your mind to always be present, when it comes around to meditating, it becomes a lot easier.
[00:42:40] It's like any other skill, but a lot of people don't wanna put the work in. And so sometimes people need to go to a monastery, an ashram to get some sort of shock therapy, you know, like this is what we're doing. And all you're doing is bringing your mind back to the, the present moment. And so [00:43:00] that bodes well for when you go back into your normal life and like, sorry, Kurt.
[00:43:05] But like I was saying, like we're training to wander all the time. Like that thought you go that way, that thought you go that way. Yeah. And just like, see the thought, let it go. And just. Looking straight ahead. I remember when I, when I was with Muji 13 years ago and he, he used a windscreen wiper analogy and he's like focus on the road.
[00:43:28] You know, the, even though the windscreen wipe is going like this, if you look at the windscreen wiper, you're gonna crash your car. And that's basically what we do psychologically, physically, we're looking at the windscreen wiper and we go insane. We become unhealthy. And so that I think I feel that's a good metaphor for everyone in the world.
[00:43:54] Curt Mercadante: How long do you, when you sit to meditate in the morning or whatever, [00:44:00] you know, for me sometimes, cause I have 47 years at most of which was not mindful. , you know, I mean probably 44 of it was not mindful and it's still a journey, but I still get things. And, and, and, and, and I find sometimes I have to dissolve it's so much better than it used to be.
[00:44:17] But I have to dissolve frustration with myself that I, I did not go completely into the void, you know, when I did it and I had too many thoughts and, and, and that happened, when do you get up? You know, for me, that's it, it's like, oh, another five minutes and I'm gonna be enlightened. You know? I mean, when do you, like when you're meditating, how do you know you're done in the more I know that's, it sounds like a, a for people who don't meditate, that may sound like a completely mundane question.
[00:44:43] Mm-hmm but maybe, maybe it's not, I don't know for me, it's like, am I done? Am I, you know, yeah,
[00:44:48] Jason Gregory: no, I think it's a per perfectly, uh, good question. Because the thing is for myself now, I, I really do put a time cap on it, like it's, and, and I've learned this from Mona series that [00:45:00] being with teachers, particularly in Thailand, they really put a cap on it.
[00:45:04] And I think cuz sometimes when you put a cap on it, you know, you you're completely dissolved and the next minute the bell goes and you're like, well, I'm not really. Willing to be Jason just yet, you know, , I'm not willing to get up, but I, I really just use it. Like, I usually meditate in the morning at night for 45 minutes each time.
[00:45:26] And so I put a cap on that, but when I first started meditating a couple of decades ago, I would, you know, do this Superman thing, you know, like sit around for two hours and yeah. You know, depending on where I, like, if I was, uh, in Ru Mara she's, Ashra, I'd sit there for like four or five hours and, you know, legs are completely, completely gone.
[00:45:51] Like what Alan whats would say, you know, aching leg schoolers in say, and, and I would do that, but, but I think I, I [00:46:00] feel like that I benefited from that as well. I just, where I'm at now in my life, I don't feel like I need to sit around for five hours. That's all. It's um, 45 minutes is good for me. And I, I think that one of the goals of meditation is to have a meditative mind.
[00:46:17] So it's not just meditation itself. It's what do you do off the mat? So, okay. You know, you dissolved yourself in that moment. That was all well and good. Do you have a meditative mind in life? And so what I mean by that is having a mind of no deliberation of being able to see the world as it is, and, and to deal with the situations at hand, with a calm mind as well.
[00:46:43] Uh, which is beneficial. Yeah.
[00:46:45] Curt Mercadante: That's so, um, and, and even, you know, my, my chigong, my Sifu talks about, um, uh, chewing being mindful. Start, start being mindful when you. Because I'm just used to swallowing [00:47:00] it down or, and I thinkt Han talks about the importance of doing it while washing the dishes. Yeah. You know, having that meditative mind of, um, I I'll tell you I'm, I'm just a little over a year into chigong.
[00:47:12] Yep. And we're just starting to make progress, you know, I know that's not the goal, but we're starting to do things that now almost I have to start over and it, I, I do it every morning outside and I, I start with seated meditation and then I go into Chiang and I'm not, if you watched, well, you know, to an outsider, watching someone do Chi on, it seems like there's nothing going on.
[00:47:42] Mm it's. The toughest thing I've ever done in my life. To the point where I've been on Saturday mornings, I go at seven in the morning and I meet him and we do chigong, I've been in tears sometimes because the inability to just he's like, no, relax, relax. And he's. And he is [00:48:00] trying to help me, trying to make my wrists relax, makes so much come up.
[00:48:06] Yeah. That I realize I have so much tension in me. I'll break out in tears. Mm-hmm uh, and he, the, a new thing is like lifting my chest cuz he, he is like, and doing it, I'm more sore from doing nothing of Chi gone, you know, you're doing something, but you're doing nothing that it is. It's the most eye-opening thing I've ever done.
[00:48:27] And I didn't know anything about chigong till I started reading your books. Yep. And I was like, oh, maybe I should start that. You know, Tai Chi. And we came here to Sedona. I'm like, well it's Sedona, you gotta do Qigong. I found, and I found a guy who was trained, uh, by master Jo in the Wang mountains. And um, It's amazing though, but the sitting still in our culture is actually the hard work.
[00:48:53] Yeah. Instead of struggling and moving forward. Um, cuz I, I can go, I can go destroy myself in an hour, [00:49:00] workout at the gym and I'll be fine. 30 minutes at chigong and I'm a heaping mess for three hours sometimes. You know, , if it, if it's, if it's bubbling things up, sometimes it's great. But sometimes it re, especially with CHIO things bubble up and it's just standing in the horse stance or Chi ball stance for a half hour at first it's tough physically, but then it's man, it's it's really eye opening.
[00:49:30] Jason Gregory: It is, it is. And that goes through all forms of meditation. Like you said, Kurt, right? Like that, that unconscious or unaware tension that we all carry around that is. Downloaded into our body, into our psychosomatic organism. And we don't know about it. Like, so when you, particularly when you start practicing chigong or TA Chi one, because you're in the, you're in the development of developing Chi.
[00:49:55] So the whole process of chigong in some sense is to develop [00:50:00] Chi same with TA Chi. One is you, you're developing Chi within your system and you're getting, and you're working on directly on your flight fight or flight system. So, and because you're working directly on your fight or flight system, that's like you said, that tension that you have on your wrist, that might be a fight that had down, you had might have had a fight when you were eight years old and still it's affected you, uh, physically in a way psycho somatically, it's still in your subconscious.
[00:50:30] And so you, your behavior is still according to maybe that situation you had when you're eight years old. And so the tension is downloaded into our bodies and we don't know it. And so. We noticed that when, particularly when we're practicing Chima, Tachi one that, that, like you said, that tension we have in our body, uh, it's hard to release for a lot of people.
[00:50:54] And that's the, the process, particularly when within those practices is to continue for, [00:51:00] for a lifetime. Obviously it's not something you do overnight. It's, it's a continual practice. You're constantly developing Chi and you're releasing which in Chinese's song, you're, you're releasing the tension, which allows your, like you said, your ch your ch to flow easily in your body or your psychosomatic organism.
[00:51:20] And so you don't have that tension anymore. So you could, even, your physical body is, is benefiting from the internal work. So, and, and, and comparing that also to sitting meditation,
[00:51:39] cuz you're working directly with the mind with sitting meditation. But you are working with the body too, right? You are sitting like a concrete block for a certain period of time, but the mind itself wants to get up and run away. It's it's it's the tension is motion for the mind, right? The tension is I need to move.
[00:51:56] I need to move. The body is sitting. I've gotta go and do [00:52:00] something or I've gotta go and be productive. And then when you pull a plug on that and it's just, and then you're in your own head and you're at war with yourself. That again is a releasing, that's a song process as well. That's a release of tension.
[00:52:12] As you mentioned with the person, who's still five days thinking they're still releasing tension, but the tension is coming out of their subconscious. So their thoughts are going mad and bubbling up. Like they're probably thinking about things that happened when they were five years old, you know, so many things bubble up when you're meditating that you might think about something you hadn't thought about for decades and it just comes up and you're like, What is going on here?
[00:52:36] Like, am I, am I literally going nuts? But yeah, it's, it's that repressed tension that we have within our psychosomatic organism that is beginning to bubble up. And this is, you know, if you are interested in the eternal internal arts of chigong Tai, Chiwan the pass and a Zen open awareness and these types of, or even, uh, self inquiry and advice, EDTA these [00:53:00] sorts of deeper practices, then you'll notice that you'll, you'll, you'll begin to be more free of that tension.
[00:53:07] Mm-hmm and, and that allows you to act appropriately with every situation because you won't, you won't be acting with tension then. Right? So when something happens in life, our tension is what's pressed against the situation. I don't, I don't like this because. I've seen this before, and that's just your attention, your, your fight or flight system going.
[00:53:30] No thanks. But if, if you've deal on those deeper levels, then anything can happen and you can deal with it.
[00:53:37] Curt Mercadante: And yeah, I always, I always think of, uh, and I can't remember if it's Cho or LAA that talks about like the flexible tree is more, is actually stronger than the one that breaks. And when we lived in Charleston, we had Palmetto trees, which are very rubbery.
[00:53:50] They're like Palm trees, but Palmetto, I don't know the difference. Yeah. And the state flag, a char of, of South Carolina is a Palmetto with a half moon over it. It's a cool, [00:54:00] cool state flag. And the reason they have that is, and it's the state tree is there was a, um, oh gosh, what was the name of it? It's it's Fort Sullivan.
[00:54:08] Now. I can't remember what it was before, but during the revolutionary war, the British came and the Americans were in this, in this Fort and the British started just shelling the Fort and it should have just blown it apart. It was a wooden Fort, but the only trees they had to make the Fort out of were Palm.
[00:54:24] So basically these cannon balls bounced off it or were absorbed and that's how they won the war. So that just shows you, you don't have to be, even be on offense to win the war. If you're flexible enough to know, you know how to do it. And I always, every time, whenever I read, I can't remember if it's live Sarah Chana.
[00:54:42] I think of that war, which was very interesting. They won by default. Cause all they had to do was build the, for outta all Meow trees.
[00:54:50] Jason Gregory: That's crazy. That that's a great story. Yeah. The, the, the drunker one was the, uh, the useless tree, but it's, it's it's same in principle. Uh, basically there's and there's a [00:55:00] few different interpretations, obviously.
[00:55:01] Um, but yeah, it's that? Well, as you were saying with the, the ordinary Palm tree, right? Uh, drunker says in the story like, cuz someone's someone, you know, everyone was under the tree, right. It's called the useless tree. So everyone was under the tree. Everyone was taken a break in the shade, the horses were there.
[00:55:19] And then one of the guys said. Look at this tree, like, how useless is this? Like, what can you use it for? And then the other guy said, you may think it's useless, but have a look at the straight trees around us. They're the first ones that are cut down in their prime. This one continues to grow old and wise and provide shelter for each and every person.
[00:55:40] So, so in being flexible, so all of it's contorted branches and being flexible and this and that is what actually provides shelter for other people, because you are naturally growing older and wiser from not being the straight hard Palm tree. That's the first one that's knocked down by cannibal. [00:56:00] But yeah, right when the cannibal hits the, the Parlo, uh, tree, then it's, it's absorbed and, and doesn't break.
[00:56:08] So, and it's kind of a metaphor for, for a Dallas S in, in this sense, because you know, the Dallas stage grows old and wise and avoids the perils of. and, and so it is not, doesn't have the negative effects of stress that we all accumulate from society. And so that's a, a, a, a good metaphor for all of us, because if we can avoid that sort of stress, if we can avoid being the straight and rigid tree, then we can grow old and wise.
[00:56:41] And, uh, you know, it's, it's a lot to do with wisdom and, and longevity as well in that story. So,
[00:56:48] Curt Mercadante: so in the book there, there's, it's, it's not just, we talk a lot about doism, but there's, I mean, you have Indian traditions, you ha Eastern traditions that go across and you've mentioned a number of 'em here, but some of the fasting [00:57:00] and online techniques we've talked about open meditation awareness, obviously sleep nutrition.
[00:57:06] Um, you, you mentioned VA pasta and it, it's funny because, and, and when you talk about Vipasana, I used to think Vipasana was, you had to take. What is it? Seven days and go out. And, and the funny thing was, this was maybe a month or two ago. I don't know what I was searching. I, I, I Googled the pasta, but I was looking so, and all these blog posts came up and they're pretty funny about people who were like social media influencers who thought it would be cool to go overseas, or actually some of them were here and do a VA pasta, like seven day, but they obviously didn't read like what was entailed in it.
[00:57:44] and it was obvious they had never meditated and sat for more than 20 minutes. Yeah. Yeah. And it was just this, you know, first of all, it was silent. No one was allowed to talk the food they had. And it's just this like peril of no talking and, oh my gosh. And I, I can't [00:58:00] Instagram it, but then the pain they were in, uh, from sitting.
[00:58:04] Um, but you also talk about VIPA, which I, that. Do you have to do the seven days or is VAPA Vipassana a kind of a different term that you can do on a daily basis?
[00:58:16] Jason Gregory: Well, well, well VIPA on a, in, in parli or in, in sanscript means insight meditation. So it doesn't, uh, ordinarily mean it's, it's a, uh, usually it's a 10 day retreat and the 10 day retreat was based on go Goenka and Goenka, uh, was a teacher from Burma, uh, who went to India eventually.
[00:58:37] And, and, uh, all of the, all of the dumber retreats, the VAPA centers you see around the world is because of Goenka. Uh, so, you know, it's great that he provided that service, but VAPA on meditation is not a retreat. Like it's, they, they train VA pasta meditation at those 10 day retreats. Okay. But it's not, but [00:59:00] VAPA itself is insight meditation.
[00:59:01] So, uh, A lot of belief is that if it's the original meditation technique of the Budha, the historical Budha, so gal of the Budha. So whether that is or not is debatable, but, uh, VAPA, as I mentioned, the book is a, is a great fasting to mind technique because Inver pasta, basically, it's such a simple practice where you practice AAR, which is awareness of respiration.
[00:59:29] And when, when I say, and this is, this is more difficult than what you think. Because if I say to you, what's your breath. When we place our awareness on our breath, we naturally alter the breath, our breathing. Yeah. Right, right. But they want you to observe it naturally. And this is where a lot of the difficulty comes in when we practice for Paron because, okay.
[00:59:50] I I'm trying to observe my breathing, but instantly I'm, I'm breathing deeper and you know, I'm. I'm not doing it correctly. [01:00:00] And so, and the, and the iron is once you do it correctly, then you get into a deeper level of IPAA, which is in Parley. It's called VA Valana means it's it's awareness of the sensorium in your body.
[01:00:14] And so the sensorium being and why this is important, according to VAPA is that say, for example, if you're feeling your nerves right in your legs and you place your awareness, or even, you know, it's ironic that you mentioned with the wrist with, with chum, right? And if you place your awareness there, the, the tension and the pain that you are feeling is related to your, your subconscious.
[01:00:39] And so what they were called Sam scars in, in SAMsk and or Sam scars in, in Pali. And so the more you place your awareness on that for longer periods of time. And it's funny when you do place your awareness on it, You, you watch the pain dissolve. Mm-hmm even no matter how long you've been meditating, if you feel like your nerves in [01:01:00] your, in your groin, for example, cause you've been sitting in a Lotus posture for too long, but you feel that and if you place your awareness on it, you'll see that those, that pain resolved.
[01:01:08] Now the question probably outsider would be, well, what sort of sub subconscious material are we dealing with when we're doing that? And it's like, well, that's, they don't go that far. It's just, you're dealing with subconscious material. And the more that you practice it, the more that you'll notice your mind become free of subconscious thoughts O of, you know, it's a slow process.
[01:01:32] It's not, again, it's like with chigong it's not an overnight process. It's a long process, but that's basically what VAPA is VAPA is that process of bringing your awareness back in some sense into your body and dealing with the resolved tension. And, uh, yeah, like you said, with a lot of the tech people and that, that go to these retreats as if they're trendy, you learn pretty quick that it's, it's not like that.
[01:01:59] I, I have a [01:02:00] friend actually who's, I would say kind of an entrepreneur and, you know, he, I, I used to know him really well. And when I used to live in Sydney and he thought it was a cool idea to do for pass on and, you know, I kind of chuckle onto myself cause I, you know, I know, I know him, you know, so, and then he, he only lasted four days.
[01:02:19] He, he just couldn't do it. Yeah. He just couldn't do it. He came and then he made up excuses. Why he didn't like it. I didn't like the idea of men and women, uh, sitting separately. And so all of these things that, you know, in some sense, if he, to me, that's kind of disrespectful to the tradition, but from where he sits, because he's so pious and Western, he thinks that they should equate to Western beliefs.
[01:02:41] And it's like the whole point of you going there was not. To judge, whether men or women should sit together, it's there for yourself basically. But for both men and women, it's not about sex or it's not about moral sensibilities. It's about working on the deeper layers of yourself. And [01:03:00] again, like, like you said, like a lot of entrepreneurs in that in particularly in the us who think it's a cool idea, you have to remember that you are going to sit for 10 hours every day for 10 days.
[01:03:11] So that's a hundred hours of meditation in 10 days and
[01:03:15] Curt Mercadante: sitting in the meditated position, not cuz in, in some of the blog posts, they were like, they came around and if I set my legs out or laid down, they were like, Nope, you gotta get back up.
[01:03:26] Jason Gregory: yep. Yep. It's true. It's true. Some, some are a bit, uh, more lenient.
[01:03:30] Like I've been on a few where, you know, your legs are fully gone and you might, you know, just get a bit of blood flow on and. A lot of people do that. Um, a lot of the experience monks don't do it. Uh there's I would say that if people wanna soft kill into the 10 day retreat, I would recommend going to Thailand and practicing the more ancient for Parsa.
[01:03:55] What I was talking about, the more ancient technique, cuz when you go to a forest monastery in Thailand, [01:04:00] their focus is on VIPA, but it's not a hundred percent silent. So for example, you'll meditate a ton, but it's not 10 hours a day. You'll meditate for one hour in the morning, one hour after lunch, one hour at night and you'll chant at night.
[01:04:18] So you might have like four active hours of, of, well three active hours of meditation and one hour of chanting. So you're, you're chanting the, the old sutures and Parly, which is a good meditation in and of itself. Uh, but it's spaced out over the day when you're at the monastery. So you can kind of through the, they, they don't advise you to talk, but if you see someone there maybe who speaks English, you might, you know, share a few words through the day at lunch, maybe, and this and that.
[01:04:47] There is more of an emphasis to be silent, but they're not saying you don't have to talk, you know, it's obviously you don't talk in the practice, but when you're out and just walking in the monastery, you can speak. So I, I, I, I always recommend that [01:05:00] a lot of people don't know about that. Cuz a lot of people aren't unaware that in Thailand there's actually a different, not a different way.
[01:05:07] The original way of a pass center Gowan and made up the 10 day, one only 30, 40 years ago. So, uh, and that's like shock therapy where the Taiwan is more of the traditional one where it's like, you can stay at the monastery, like I've stayed at the monastery for weeks months because you it's. More flexible where you don't have to be like a concrete block for 10 hours a day and not talk.
[01:05:34] Yeah. So that's the one I would recommend for people to, to do
[01:05:40] Curt Mercadante: well, Jason, we, uh, it's been another wonderful discussion. And if I urge anyone go back because I, I think not, I think it is in conjunction with fasting the mind, listen to our previous episode, a link to it about a good way to get into place of fasting.
[01:05:58] The mind is tuning out, like turn [01:06:00] off the news, turn off the devices. Cuz as Jason mentioned, you know, the other day I made the mistake of checking my email right before bed. And there were some things that pissed me off and I woke up pissed off. And so, you know, it's like, I didn't do my process. And um, and it's hard to do it first, but you know, when you fast, the body.
[01:06:24] And, you know, that's become trendy now, right? Intermediate fasting, fasting, and there are benefits of it. Of course. Uh, certainly, but one of them is, uh, aji, which allows your cells to literally kill off or, or shed the cancerous cells and replenish that it doesn't happen when you're eating. And the same exact thing applies.
[01:06:42] I think, to your mind, your, your, your, your being right. You, you just shed their thoughts. It's programming, it's subconscious, it's ego, it's pain, it's tension. So, yeah. And I
[01:06:52] Jason Gregory: wouldn't. And, and just to, uh, elaborate a little bit on what you said, Kurt, I wouldn't say to, to think too negatively for anyone [01:07:00] about that too.
[01:07:00] Like, you know, you said where you checked your email, the thing is you're gonna slip up. Yeah. It's just, it's a fact. It's just a fact, uh, I still do, you know, things will catch me off guard. I think shit, I, I reacted this way to that. Like, I let it get me, you know, but it's a lesson for, for your practice also, you know, I I've seen many teachers even into their eighties.
[01:07:23] Who will say that they're still not even at the beginning. And so that's a bit of a humbling thing to hear from them, even though, you know, we look at them and we say, oh yeah, sure, sure. Wink. We know you you're, you're a fair way down the path. But, um, but even then they, they will say that there are still things that will impact them in a negative way, but it may be easier for them to deal with that, you know, when you've gone further down the path.
[01:07:51] So I would
[01:07:52] Curt Mercadante: yeah. And you don't do what I just did was judge. Right. You're aware of it rather than being unconscious, but you don't like, I judged it, you know, which may angrier. [01:08:00]
[01:08:00] Jason Gregory: Yeah. Yeah. That's what, yeah. That's what can happen. Yeah. But even that's a lesson in and of it itself. Like, so, you know, I, I wouldn't think about it.
[01:08:10] I mean, I I've done that too. You know, we, we all do that where we will judge it and we think white. And that again comes to us, sort of making a, we've kind of made a rule for ourselves that we shouldn't do this. So then we start to judge. Right, right. And it's just more about awareness. It's just more about focusing on the awareness of how you are behaving towards that, your actions also, and abiding more as that awareness, as opposed to the judging or the, the behavioral aspects.
[01:08:42] Curt Mercadante: well, Jason, thanks so much. We're gonna link to your book and, and all the books. Um, thanks once again for coming on the freedom media network. Thanks for having
[01:08:48] Jason Gregory: us umbrella.